Though it feels like it has been decades since I have written in Faith Food & Fitness, who would have known that college would fly by quicker than high school? Senior year is coming up on the half way mark, and I am about to sign up for my final semester of classes. Crazy. Since I last wrote in this blog, however many ages ago that was, A LOT has changed in my life- and for the better. If you know me well, you may have a general idea as to what events have taken place in my life. In order to stay organized on the up coming topic of this post, I want to focus on fitness aspects and talk directly from my own opinion and point of view. This topic has been weighing heavily on my mind and on my heart, and I think it's time to let my thoughts run free!
As most of you may know, last year I competed in a bikini body building competition. I am not going to get into the details of that here. If you would like to read a shorter post from my Instagram on that ordeal, you can click on this link below.
Coming out of that experience, I thought fitness had one meaning. I obtained this meaning through the various "fitspso" social media accounts that I had accumulated into a mass following during my prep for the competition. Fitness, and at that point in time, health, meant LEAN. Abs, shredded thighs, peaking shoulders, and diet faces. Fitness meant going to the gym every single day. Fitness meant that lifting weights was the only option. Fitness meant each lifting day was organized into a bodybuilding style muscle group split. Fitness meant early morning fasted cardio. I was still suffering from the mental (and physical) trauma that I had put my body through in the weeks before. I was running myself into the ground daily in order to keep up with the standards that I had accepted from the self-proclaimed fitness "experts" on social media, and obviously it was not sustainable.
In this mindset, I thought the ONLY exercise that would yield results was lifting weights in this fashion, and I began to loathe going to the gym. I started to think that I needed something else, something else that would provide the results of "fitness" and "happiness" that I was desperately searching for.
To make a long story 12x shorter (trust me, I typed it out and deleted most of it so that I can summarize what I want to say here), I am going to list the other types of exercises that I tried in order to get the results above.
To conclude my findings after trying workout after workout, fueled only by hopes of achieving aesthetic results, was that fitness does not have to be a "one size fits all". I found that what I genuinely LOVE doing is Oranegtheory Fitness- high intensity interval, heart rate based training- spinning / cycling, hiking, running, and lifting weights- WHEN I FEEL LIKE IT.
What I have learned over the past year is priceless- Fitness is there to sculpt the physical body, yes. There are numerous health benefits to gaining more lean muscle mass and lowering fat mass, yes. But fitness, and HEALTH is not solely based off of aesthetics, how big your biceps are, how perky your glutes are, or how toned your abs are. Fitness is there to ELEVATE THE MIND. Fitness is supposed to IMPROVE mental health, not diminish it. Being fit and healthy in my mind is doing what challenges you. It is doing what you LOVE, doing what you ENJOY, and it is doing what makes YOU HAPPY. Fitness can literally be anything that gets you out of bed in the morning, what gets you moving on your lunch hour, or what gets you through to the end of a long day. It can be anything that gets your heart rate up, and it can be anything that gets you motivated. Fitness is NOT something that should stress you out. Being healthy and fit encompasses balance, but it does NOT mean you deprive yourself of nutrients if you are unable to make it to a workout one day. Exercise is NOT a punishment, exercise is a REWARD. If what you are doing is causing you stress, harm, or unhappiness, there is NO reason to continue doing it. Take a step back and ask yourself what your goals are, but most importantly, what will make you happy and enhance your day to day life.
If you like running- DO IT.
If you like swimming laps- DO IT.
If you like Crossfit- DO IT.
If you like TRX training- DO IT.
If you like weight lifting- DO IT.
If you like hiking- DO IT.
That being said, just because some fitness fad is over-advertised on social media or in the fitness industry, it does NOT mean that it is the only or even the best form of exercise to get the results that you are looking for. Honestly, the best form of exercise is any exercise that you can and are willing to do.
I want to close with a few words: Do what challenges you. Do what you enjoy. The physical results will come with time, but the quality of your life will improve immediately.
Fitness is your freedom.
Thank you for reading,